“Ah yes, the typical I-remember-when-I-first-saw-this-movie antecdote that tends to accompany any write up I do on an older movie. Let’s journey back to high school. I’d already established Edward Norton as my favorite actor. I was determined to watch every single one of his movies, and was in the process of realizing that I very much enjoyed every single one of his movies. As I was making my way thru the list, the time came for me to use the power of my Blockbuster card to rent The People Vs Larry Flynt. Now, let me remind you a little bit about High School Dawn. High School Dawn lived at home with very conservative Christian parents. High School Dawn was very active in the church youth group. High School Dawn was about as much of a quiet and shy goody goody as you could possibly get. And now High School Dawn walks into the house with a movie about the guy behind Hustler magazine. Yeeeeeah, I waited until the ‘rents weren’t home to watch it. And I was kinda squeamishly uncomfortable thru most of it. I spent a good while just wondering what the \m/ I was doing watching this movie, and even wondered if I’d gotten the wrong thing since it takes a good 30 minutes for Edward Norton to first make an appearance.
But as the movie went on, I was drawn in. At this point, all I knew of Woody Harrelson was those few episodes of Will & Grace that he did, though of course at the time I didnt know him by name yet. But since then he has been towards the top of my watch list. Just such a stunning and deep and mezmorizing portrayal. The details of what were going on may have made me uncomfortable during that first watch, but I was so completely allied with the characters and the overall story. The idea of freedom of speech and expression is something that is very important to me.
As far as Edward Norton goes, I do love his limited scenes. He’s got some great courtroom scenes. Certainly a smart career move taking on this film as a follow up to Primal Fear since it kept him in the big leagues with some big names in Hollywood. He masterfully holds his own against such an insane larger than life character.
High School Dawn has definitely grown up and come a long way in the 10 years or so since I first watched this. For one, I’m not shrinking into my seat in shame as I watch this today. There’s this one bus stop in LA that I tend to end up at at least once per trip that’s right by the Flynt Building, and I can’t help by smile as I see it.”